Willamette Splits Doubleheader at Lewis & Clark

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

PORTLAND, ORE. -- Willamette University and Lewis & Clark College split a Northwest Conference doubleheader at the Huston Sports Complex on Friday, April 6. Willamette won the first game 19-8, while L&C downed the Bearcats, 3-2, in the nightcap. The Bearcats, ranked #25 in this week's NFCA Top 25 Poll for NCAA Division III, ended the doubleheader with a 14-9 overall record, including 8-6 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark moved to 4-12 on the season, 2-16 in the NWC.

In the first game, Willamette pounded out 15 hits, walked 8 times and took advantage of nine errors by the Pioneers. The Bearcats allowed just six hits, but all six were in L&C's eight-run fifth inning off relief pitchers, after WU built a 12-0 lead in the first four innings.

WU starter Nikki Franchi (So., RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) threw two separate stints during the game. She allowed no runs and no hits in a total of 5 1/3 innings. She struck out nine batters and allowed just one walk.

Franchi pitched the first three innings. L&C scored all eight runs (seven earned) in the fifth, before Franchi went back to the circle to pitch the final out of the inning, plus all three outs in the sixth and seventh innings.

After L&C cut the lead to 12-8 in the fifth stanza, WU added one run in the sixth. The 'Cats tacked on six additional runs in the seventh for the 11-run victory.

Franchi went 4 for 6 at the plate. She provided the Bearcats with two doubles, seven RBIs and two runs during the game. Liz Gilgan (Jr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) went 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs, while Nicole Wallace (Fr., C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) was 2 for 4 with three runs and an RBI.

Barnes led all players in the first game with four runs scored. LaShawna Holcomb (So., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) scored three times. Geneva Hale (Jr., 1B, Shoreline, WA/Shorecrest HS) was 2 for 5. L&C was led by Elizabeth Murrieta, who went 2 for 2 with two RBIs, a run and a walk, and by Char Skeffington, who was 1 for 2 and scored twice.

Pioneer pitcher Janet Freerks threw a complete-game four-hitter for Lewis & Clark in Game #2. She struck out seven batters and allowed three walks.

Willamette had the game's only home run, a solo blast by Molly Barnes to start the fourth inning and pull Willamette within 2-1. It was Barnes' fifth homer of the season.

L&C added a run in the fifth inning for a 3-1 lead. Franchi drove in the game's final run on a triple with one out in the top of the sixth, but ended the inning stranded at third. Franchi was 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI in the second game.

In the top of the seventh, Debra Bohren (Fr., RF, Tillamook, OR/Tillamook HS) walked, stole second and was sacrificed to third, but Freerks struck out the next two batters to end the game.

Freerks helped her own cause by going 2 for 3 at the plate with 2 RBIs. No one else for either team had more than one hit in Game #2.

Game #1 - Willamette University 19, Lewis & Clark College 8 - Box Score
Game #2 - Lewis & Clark College 3, Willamette University 2 - Box Score